The Salem Greyhounds have faced their share of dynamic guards the past couple of games.
After holding high-flying Calico Rock Pirate Scottie Sanders to 11 points the week before, the Hounds got a double dose of Mammoth Springs' explosive Seth Risner.
Round one went to Risner and the Bears as they edged Salem 53-50 Jan. 24 in the first round of the Izard County Tournament, thanks in large part to 19 points from Risner.
Meeting again less than three days later in Salem, the Greyhounds were determined to not let Risner get to them again.
Starting off in a box-and-one with Risner as their main target, just as they did with Sanders the week before, the Hounds kept Mammoth Spring's hot-shooting guard in check for three periods, before Risner, along with Wes Whiteside, broke loose in the last frame to power the Bears to a 59-44 2AA-North win Jan. 27.
A tight contest after three periods, the Bears outscored Salem 21-10 in the fourth, holding the Greyhounds to four points in the last 3:50 of play to emerge with the win.
Mammoth Spring wraps up conference play at 6-4, 17-8 overall, while Salem falls to 1-9 in league play, 3-14 overall.
Salem held serve for most of the first half of play, closing the first period on a 9-2 run, keyed by a 3-ball from Robbie Hurtt (13 points) to lead 12-7 after one.
With the Hounds up 17-15 on two free throws from Leon Harvey (four points) midway into the second period, Risner (13 points) busted a long trey, his only hoop of the half, to give the Bears an 18-17 lead.
Quickly regaining control, the Hounds took a 23-22 advantage to halftime.
Leading 27-26 minutes inside the third period, the Bears put the margin back on their side for good as Matt Harrell came on like gang busters.
Harrell racked up all eight of his points on the game in a two-minute stretch in the third, helping Mammoth Spring to a 38-32 lead.
Justin Howell (10 points) closed the frame by bullying his way in for a layup with 10 seconds left to pull Salem within four, 38-34, at the end of the third.
A Hurtt jumper in traffic just inside the four-minute mark of the final period cut the Bears' lead to 43-40, but it also turned out to be Salem's last significant basket.
Whiteside (16 points) extended the Mammoth Spring cushion by coming up huge on back-to-back old-fashioned 3-point plays in the lane, pushing the Bears in front 49-40 with 2:11 left to play.
Not to be outdone, Risner added a traditional 3-point play, along with two more Whiteside free throws, as the Bears put the wraps on the Greyhounds.
Harvey hit a layup with 41 seconds left, and Hurtt canned a jumper at the buzzer, but it was the Bears who made it three victories in a row over Salem with a 15-point win.
Adam Brown added 11 points for Mammoth Spring, while Brandon Myers finished with nine, and Logan Lawerence two.
Chad Willett tallied 11 for Salem, with Phillip Taylor adding four, and Kyle Estes two.
In girls' action, the Lady Greyhounds fought off a game effort from the Mammoth Spring Lady Bears to post a 49-43 2AA-North win Jan. 27.
Trailing 47-34 with 3:32 left in the game, the Lady Bears busted out nine unanswered points to climb within four, 47-43, with one minute left to play.
Needing Salem to miss some free throws to keep the door open, the Lady Greyhounds obliged by coming up short on the front end of back-to-back one-and-one situations from the charity stripe.
Mammoth Spring, however, failed to capitalize on this, with Ashley Smith tossing in two free throws with seven seconds left to set the final margin of victory for the Lady Hounds.
Smith paced Salem with 17 points on the night.
The game started off in fine fashion for Mammoth Spring, getting a pair of triples in the first frame from Lanette Romans (10 points) to take a 14-10 lead after one.
Moving into the second period, the Lady Bears extended their lead to 21-13 on Romans' third trey of the first half, before the Lady Hounds warmed up from beyond the arc.
Stephanie Barker (six points) popped a 3-ball, followed by one from Smith, as Salem clawed back into the thick of things.
A jumper by Samantha Smith (six points) swung the margin over to Salem's side at 23-22, before the half ended in a 25-all deadlock.
Salem broke the tie early in the third, and led for the duration of the frame, although Madison Busch did have a productive stretch for the Lady Bears.
Busch tallied all six of Mammoth Spring's points in the third, on her way to a game-high 18. Despite this, the Lady Bears trailed 34-31 after three.
Making one last run at the lead late in the fourth, Jodie Walsh (four points) started a 9-zip sprint for the Lady Bears with a jumper, followed by five straight points by Ann Whiteside (eight points).
Despite missing a couple of potentially costly free throws late, the Lady Hounds (11-7, 6-4) managed to survive Mammoth Spring's rally, to post a 49-43 win.
Heather Bales tallied 12 points for Salem, while Cassi Hickinbotham added four, and Hannah Bray two for the Lady Greyhounds.
Jonnie Bellows and Maggie Harrell finished with two each for the Lady Bears.